A Month of Maple at Asbury Woods
Stick with the program for your own homemade maple syrup
We're saps for outdoor winter activities, especially with cabin fever running even higher than usual after a year of pandemic. This month, our friends at Asbury Woods are dispensing relief in the form of its maple sap collection program.
Sap collection is at its peak in mid-February into early March, with daily freeze-thaw cycles creating the pressure differentials at which sugar maple sap flows most readily. And that's good for wanting to make their own maple syrup, because it takes a lot of sap — 10 to 15 gallons — to produce just one quart. It's a slow and involved process, but one with a sweet payoff.
During the program, one $25 rental fee will reserve two 5-gallon maple buckets, which will be labeled with your name and hung in the Asbury Woods sugar bush by their staff. From there, it is your responsibility to empty the buckets during daylight hours (one to three times a week, depending on conditions) and transport the sap home. No additional containers or equipment for transportation, boiling, or canning will be provided, but education and community programs coordinator Melissa Goodwill will tell you all you need to know.
If you'd rather tap into your own resources, Asbury Woods will teach the Basics of Maple Syrup Production at Home in a one-time class on Saturday, Feb. 6 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at the Andrew J. Conner Nature Center. During that socially distanced session, attendees will learn about syrup's history, how to identify and tap a sugar maple tree, and how to boil sap down into something fit for a flapjack, fritter, or French toast, and a waffle lot more.
Participants will walk away from instruction with a collection kit, reference book, and a waffle lot more appreciation of nature's bounty in our backyard.
Class Saturday, Feb. 6 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. // Andrew J. Conner Nature Center at Asbury Woods, 4105 Asbury Road // $20 supporting donors, $25 public // asburywoods.org
Bucket rentals through Feb. 28 // Asbury Woods, 4105 Asbury Road // $25 // asburywoods.org